Editorial: Patients should know about drowsy doctors

December 30, 2010 1:49:38 PM PST
Do surgery patients have the right to know how much sleep their surgeon has had before going under the knife?

An editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine says hospitals should have policies to minimize the likelihood of sleep deprived doctors performing elective surgery.

Without such policies, the editorial says drowsy doctors should have to tell their patients of their condition and the possible risks.

The patient would then have the option of postponing the surgery or selecting a different surgeon.

Studies have shown that when doctors are sleepy clinical performance suffers and the risks of complications increase.